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She Must Burn - "Grimoire" (CD)

She Must Burn - "Grimoire" CD cover image

"Grimoire" track listing:

1. Ritual
2. The Wicked
3. Gloom Feat. Sean Harmanis
4. Hallowed Grounds
5. Victoria
6. A False Heaven
7. From The Grave
8. Roseblood
9. After Death

Reviewed by on March 24, 2017

"From the get-go this album features a collision of familiar and new, stitching together disparate genres and bringing in guests from various bands across the metalscape."

Sub-genre mashups are my jam, and that's what we've got here with She Must Burn's “Grimoire.” From the get-go this album features a collision of familiar and new, stitching together disparate genres and bringing in guests from various bands across the metalscape. From sweeping symphonic black metal to brutal break downs and even a smattering of clean singing, there's a bit of everything on the album.

Brutal deathcore fans will recognize some familiar vocals on “The Wicked,” with Scott Lewis of Carnifex lending his talents, but honestly what stands out most on this track is the early Abigail Williams feel. While everybody hated that “Legend” EP for its 'core elements, there's no question the following album “In The Shadow Of A Thousand Suns” was one of the most crushing U.S. black metal offerings out there, and whole lot of that influence is found across She Must Burn's latest full-length release.

Each track swings back and forth between epic black metal with backing keys to a deathcore style, and along the way ping pongs vocal styles from harsh shrieks to both male and female cleans. She Must Burn works hard to split the difference between extreme brutality and extreme theatricality, and it pays off.

With an album as eclectic as “Grimoire,” there's always the possibility one of the stylistic choices isn't going to sit well with any given listener, and for me that was the post-hardcore feel present on “Victoria.” Working for a metal site, I've had to suffer through a couple of hundred completely interchangeable melodic hardcore songs, and that's exactly the style being channeled on “Victoria.” You can practically hear the gauged ears, skinny jeans, emo swoopy bangs, and an impending request to sign up for a Hot Topic rewards card just oozing through the speakers.

That's the only low point on this otherwise stellar album though, and later track “From The Grave” even showcases the band taking a similar style from “Victoria” but refining into a more sonically interesting experience. In particular, the dueling hoarse extreme vocals and ethereal clean singing there offer a marked contrast that keeps interest running high. Cull out that one misstep and “Grimoire” offers pretty much anything you could want from an extreme metal album and then some.

Highs: Sweeping, epic black metal meets brutal deathcore with a dash of clean singing

Lows: "Victoria" is copy/paste post-hardcore at its worst

Bottom line: Symphonic black metal gets married to brutal deathcore!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)